Fast Ombudsman, slow Hockey

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Fast Ombudsman, slow Hockey

The Workplace Ombudsman has shown it is closely monitoring media reports relating to workplace matters and is responding rapidly in the pre-election period. Meanwhile Labor's IR spokeswoman, Julia Gillard says she has been chasing the Workplace Relations Minister 'up hill and down dale' for a pre-election debate, but he won't be in it.

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The Workplace Ombudsman has shown it is closely monitoring media reports relating to workplace matters and is responding rapidly in the pre-election period. Meanwhile Labor's IR spokeswoman, Julia Gillard says she has been chasing the Workplace Relations Minister 'up hill and down dale' for a pre-election debate, but he won't be in it.

Ombudsman's quick service at McDonalds

The Workplace Ombudsman has shown it is closely monitoring media reports relating to workplace matters and is responding rapidly in the pre-election period.

Allegations on the Leon Delany program on Radio 2SM last week, that the McDonalds restaurant in the NSW country town of Grafton was mistreating its workers, were investigated the same day.

Same day

Ombudsman, Nicholas Wilson said Workplace Inspectors visited the Grafton McDonalds on the day the allegations were aired and contact was received from McDonalds' head office which has assisted with the investigation.

The allegation said there were concerns about underpayments resulting from workers being required to perform unpaid duties before and after paid shifts, and being paid an incorrect hourly rate of pay.

No substance

'We are able to confirm that the allegations concerning AWAs are without substance due to McDonalds not offering that form of agreement making to their workers', Wilson said.

He said the Workplace Ombudsman's investigation into the remaining allegations of underpayments of workers at the Grafton McDonalds continues 'in order to protect the rights of workers employed by the business.'

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Hockey 'ducking' IR debate, says Gillard

Labor's IR spokeswoman, Julia Gillard says she has been chasing Workplace Relations Minister 'up hill and down dale' for a pre-election debate, but he won't be in it.

In the aftermath of last night's debate between Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd and Prime Minister John Howard, Gillard said a number of TV stations had expressed interest in a debate between her and Hockey.

'I'm always happy for a debate,' Gillard said. 'I've actually been chasing Joe Hockey uphill and down dale for a debate without success, so that we could debate the important issue of WorkChoices. 

Declined

'I've only ever debated Hockey once, which was on the 7.30 Report. There have been a number of other TV shows that have sought to have the two of us on, debating, as recently as Meet the Press on Sunday which I appeared on. Joe Hockey was asked to appear with me for a debate and declined to do so.'

In a radio interview in Hobart this morning, Gillard was asked why it had taken Rudd so long to 'run the line that the Prime Minister didn't campaign at all on WorkChoices before the last election and only brought in the raft of reforms once he had control of the Senate. Why has he not made more of that?'

Rammed through

Gillard replied: 'We've certainly been making that clear ever since WorkChoices was brought to the Australian people and rammed through the Parliament … '

Interviewer:  In the context of this campaign though I've hardly heard it.

'Well, Kevin and I on the first day of the campaign were together in Brisbane and we were talking about Howard's extreme laws and of course his secret plans to go further,' Gillard said. 'And we certainly made the point on Monday that one of the reasons we believe that he is keeping his plans secret is we know that's his form. 

Plans to go further

'He didn't tell the Australian people about WorkChoices before the last election and then sprung it on everybody.  And we believe that they've got plans to go further. They've sought economic modelling about what would happen if 100% of the Australian workforce was exposed to WorkChoices.  That must mean that they've got a plan to place WorkChoices on nurses and fire fighters, people who are currently in State industrial relations systems.

'And we know that they've used the power of the Commonwealth dollar to force WorkChoices on people. They did that in our universities by saying to the universities, you can only have your money if you're out there offering AWAs. 

'There's no reason in the world why a re-elected Howard Government wouldn't do the same thing in health and beyond.'

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